Why ‘Coco Reo Māori’ Aligns with Matariki Release

Mama Coco, the grandmother who made people fall in love with Pixar, passes  away aged 109 | Marca

As the anticipation builds for the latest addition to the lineup of reimagined Disney films in te reo Māori, “Coco Reo Māori,” it’s noteworthy that its release has been strategically timed to align with the Matariki celebration. With its cinematic debut scheduled for Thursday, July 13th, this animated rendition has caught the attention of audiences not only for its creative storytelling but also for the cultural significance it carries.

In a recent interview on The Project, Troy Kingi, the talented actor lending his voice to the character of Hector in the Māori version of the film, shared his perspective on the timing of the release. He highlighted the aptness of launching a narrative centered around celebrating the departed and cherishing their memories in tandem with the Matariki festivities. Kingi eloquently stated, ‘What better way to celebrate it. The theme of the movie celebrates acknowledging those who’ve passed on.’ His thoughtful words resonate deeply, emphasizing the harmonious alignment between the film’s themes and the values of Matariki.

As an artist deeply connected to the project, Kingi also revealed a heartwarming aspect of his involvement—the approval of his children. He proudly disclosed that “Coco Reo Māori” has become a beloved favorite among his kids, who attended the Auckland premiere of the movie. The validation from his own family stands as a testament to the film’s resonance and its ability to captivate hearts across generations. Kingi’s statement, ‘I think I’ve done my job,’ is a reflection of the emotional investment he’s made in contributing to this rendition of the film.

Pixar shares two heartwarming scenes from Coco, its Day of the  Dead-inspired feature - Polygon

The significance of “Coco Reo Māori” extends beyond its individual release, forming part of an ongoing initiative. This animated film joins the ranks of other cherished Disney creations that have been thoughtfully translated into the Māori language by Matewa Media directors Tweedie Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley. These adaptations are more than just linguistic exercises; they represent an appreciation for culture, a commitment to inclusivity, and a bridge between storytelling and heritage. This endeavor started with “Moana Reo Māori” in 2017, and has continued to evolve with subsequent releases like “The Lion King Reo Māori” and “Frozen Reo Māori,” both introduced to audiences in 2022.

As the excitement for “Coco Reo Māori” builds, it’s clear that its release is not just a cinematic event, but a cultural and communal one as well. The film’s timing in relation to Matariki enhances its significance, emphasizing the interconnectedness of storytelling, tradition, and celebration. It’s a heartening reminder of how art, language, and culture can come together to create something truly special—a shared experience that resonates deeply with diverse audiences. So, as we eagerly await the release of “Coco Reo Māori,” let us appreciate the layers of meaning it adds to the tapestry of Matariki and the ongoing commitment to making Disney’s magic accessible to all.

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